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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    April 16, 2013
    12:00 - 4:18pm EDT  

quorum call:
quorum call:
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent the period for debate -- that there be a period of debate only on a gun bill, that it be extended -- that's s. 649, be extended until 3:30, and at that time i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection -- is there objection? mr. reid: i said 3:30, didn't i?
that's what i said. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: we'll work on continuing to get agreement. the republican leader said they need to have their caucus first. i hope that works out okay. that we can move forward on the amendments and votes in relation to the gun safety legislation. i think, madam president, we should just go out until our caucuses are completed at 2:15. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15.
>> live pictures once again of the u.s. capitol as flags fly at half-staff in tribute and honor to the victims of the bombings in boston yesterday during the marathon. suffolk county district attorney dan conley joined governor duval patrick and a number of earth massachusetts officials. deval patrick. to talk about who is responsible for yesterday's bombings. this happened earlier today. >> thank you for coming this morning. 24 hours after yesterday's act of terror we want to organize information for you with the information we have. the mayor is here. the members of our congressional delegation, all the law enforcement leadership. we have several people that
want to present to you this morning and take your questions. a couple of points i want to mention at the outset. i told you yesterday that the fbi has taken charge of the investigation. special agent in charge rick deslauriers will speak shortly. it is important to clarify that two and only two explosive devices were found yesterday. other parcels, all other parcels in the area of the blast have been examined and there are no unexploded bombs. there were no unexploded explosive devices found. over 150 people were injured yesterday in the, in the blasts, some gravely. our thoughts go out to all those injured and killed and to their families and friends. i personally want to thank the extraordinary first-responders for their just extraordinary work yesterday. every single one of them,
those who were on site and those who got to the site promptly thereafter performed beautifully as have the area hospitals. i've been calling around to the heads of the hospitals personally to thank them as well. it is a our hope that tomorrow we will organize an interfaith prayer service to help our community heal. we don't have details on that yet but we will provide those details when we have them. there is a support center that was opened yesterday in what we call the castle opposite the park plaza hotel on arlington and stewart street i think it is. the mayor and his, has provided staff to help people cope with, with this extraordinary event and it will be open from 9:00, i think until 5:00 or beyond this evening. finally, everyone should expect continued heightened police presence and everyone should continue personally to be vigilant.
the investigation continues and until it is done all of those in law enforcement represented by the leaders here will be present in force in the area around the blast and throughout the city. and with that, let me turn it over to mayor menino. >> thank you, governor. yesterday terror was brought to the city of boston. tragedy was brought to one our neighbors also. this is a close-knit place, the city of boston. here we know our neighbors, and we grieve for them. we grieve for the little boy who we knew from dorchester. we also today want to say, we know our heroes also. they're the men and women who wear helmets, that wear the bans, the runners, who helped us yesterday during this time of need. and as we get, go together on third quarter issue with all the law enforcement officials we're going to make sure we stay close together. we've got it under control. let's continue to work
together, continue to have a helping hand to individuals that may need it during this very difficult time in our city's history by saying to all of you. i've been mayor for 20 years now. i have never seen law enforcement pull together, working together to solve our crime in our city as they have but also help people pull together. the business community, the neighbors, everyone. this is a tragedy but boston is strong city. we're a city that will get through this. like the governor said, we set up a resource center over at the castle near the park plaza hotel where staff will be there available to give information to individuals who have within involved in the marathon and it is open from 9:00 to 5:00. the phone number is, 635-504 i believe. and, and our hotline, no, number, wrong number about. 617-54-5050. and also to the 24 hour hotline that you need information also. that number is 617-635-4500.
in the last several hours we received calls from all over the world asking us information about the tragedy and how they can help us. this is a bad day for boston but i think if we pull together we'll get through it. we're a strong city. a lot of people willing to work together to make this a better place for all our people. so as we gather here today, with all our officials let's say, boston will overcome. >> thank you, mr. mayor. senator? >> thank you. thank you, governor and thank you, mr. mayor. the president of the united states has pledged his full support in all efforts both to keep the city safe and to find the person who did this and bring them to justice. we did not have to reach out to the president. the president reached out to us. he called the governor, he called the mayor, he called the members of the delegation because the president is actively involved here and responding. on behalf of our
congressional delegation, senator cowan is here with me and congressman lynch and all of the members of our delegation we want to extend our thanks to the first-responders, to the firefighters, to the police officers to the ems, to everyone on scene including volunteers who came and helped those in trouble and helped save lives. we also want to thank those from all around the country and all around the world whose prayers and thoughts and offers of help have poured in we are deeply grateful. as the mayor says, boston will survive. >> thank you, governor. good morning my name is rick deslauriers. i'm the special agent in charge of the fbi's boston division. i would like to thank first-responders from boston ems and boston fire department and volunteer physicians, nurses and medical staff that
volunteered at the marathon. their services and heroic actions saved lives yesterday afternoon. we continue to work shoulder to shoulder with our jttf partners at the boston police department the massachusetts state police and as well as our other jttf agencies. our mission is clear, to bring to justice those responsible for the marathon bombing. the american public wants answers, the citizens of the city of boston and the commonwealth of massachusetts want and deed serve answers. this group of dedicated men and women standing before you today pledge to do everything possible to get those answers. this remains a very active investigation. our ongoing investigation in various locations throughout the area goes on. however there are no known additional threats. we continue to interview varies various witnesses and process the crime scene which could take some sometime. the citizens of massachusetts and the city of boston should expect to see the fbi and its jttf partners conducting investigative activity in the greater eastern massachusetts and boston area.
assistance from the public remains critical in establishing a timeline of events which leads to swift conclusion through due diligence and strong investigative activity. we commend the public, we commend the citizens of boston and calm citizens of the commonwealth of massachusetts for the information that has been provided to law enforcement so far and we strongly encourage that assistance to continue. it is paramount to explain the fbi and our jttf role to a greater extent. the volume of tips we have received in reiterating the resources we provide. we have received voluminous tips over the last 18 hours since the incident. we have staffed our 1-800-call-fbi tip line and we encourage individuals to call that line with any additional tips. we're bringing additional victim assistance and evidence response team resources from our headquarters components and other field offices to boston and they are on site working as we speak processing evidence at the crime scene. to the extent that the crime scene still plays in coply
perimeter an continues to be a crime scene it may be that for several days. the fbi, jttf is logically following up on a variety of leads. you will see us and our law enforcement partners interviewing maybe neighbor or coworker or maybe yourself in coming days. we urge you to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. the resources, the fbi and jttf allow swift action which will hopefully yield quick results that does not diminish the diligence and perseverance combing through the high volume of evidence and leads we're processing right now. we're just beginning the process on that path. thank you very much. >> i'm gene marquez, acting special agent in charge, atf, boston field division. at this time atf as partial nrt, national response team activation. we're bringing our explosive specialists here to the scene and we'll work jointly with the fbi and its partners on the jtt. if we have certified
explosive specialists. we have explosives enforcement officers. we have special agent bomb tex and we have k-9s that are trained to detect any explosive devices or any residue. at this time we have approximately 30 forensic specialists en route or on the scene and to dispel any rumors there were rumors floating around there were seven devices at one point. that is not true. i think that happened as a result of some device -- suspect packages that were disrupted but we have only two devices that we're aware of and both of those devices were the ones that were involved and did the damage and were involved in the explosive incident. at this time we are looking for the public's cooperation. we're looking for any video, any photographic evidence, if you can please contact the fbi hotline or the city's hotline we would like to review any kind of media that you have out there
pertaining, that might give us additional investigative leads and we're pursuing those investigative leads at this time. the scene will take several days to process. we just ask for your patience as we're working in that area and for your cooperation. >> good morning. i'm nights attorney carmen order tease. -- ortiz. i first want to extend my condolences to the families of the loved ones who were lost in yesterday's attack on the city of boston. as well as those that were hurt and may still be fighting for their lives. our thoughts and our prayers go out to them. what happened yesterday was a terrible tragedy. it was amazing to see as you have heard from my colleagues here how people just helped one another, ran toward the blast, just to assist another person in greater need. people who were just there
for those that were hurt and in a dire situation. it was amazing to see how the city of boston, and people from around the world that were part of yesterday's boston marathon helped one another, consoled each other. there are some moving parts to have been investigation such as this and i can't begin to thank everyone who has been involved. law enforcement, medical professionals, emergency responders, and really just regular citizens who became heroes yesterday. i want to repeat as i did state it yesterday this is an active and it's an ongoing investigation but rest assured that we are bringing all of the necessary resources to assist in this matter and that we will conduct all that we can with all of our law enforcement partners. i've been in touch with the attorney general several times, eric holder, and he has pledged all the resources from the department and others on behalf of the federal
government to help us and to recover from yesterday. i ask for your patience and your understanding as we continue to pursue leads together, evidence, and to get to the bottom of who did this and why. thank you. >> good morning. my name is ed davis. i'm police commissioner for the city of boston. we are in the process of securing and processing the most complex crime scene that we've dealt with in the history of our department. we are doing that under the direction of the fbi and in partnership with the atf. we have secured the perimeter with members about of the national guard and the general is here. i would like to thank the people who are working closely with us. we received offers of assistance from chicago, los angeles. units have respond here from new york city and baltimore and we are working very closely with all of our partners on this complex
investigation. i, i want to stress that the area around the crime scene which was yesterday was 15 blocks, has been reduced to about 12 blocks at this point in time. we will continue to collapse that crime scene as the facts and circumstances make that available. we want to open up many streets and get people into their buildings as quickly as we can. we're working diligently on that but please be patient with us in the time we need to process the crime scene. we expect that scene will go for another two days anyway and people should make appropriate plans. again i want to stress that any information that you have, any videos or photographs, that happened not just at that scene but anywhere in the immediate vicinity could be helpful to this investigation. our focus is on processing that evidence right now and we're looking forward to working with our, with our partners to bring the individuals who are responsible for this heinous crime to justice.
thank you. >> thank you, commissioner. colonel? >> good morning. my name is timothy albert. i'm the superintendent of massachusetts state police. as i said earlier in one of our briefings, there's really two or three parts to this investigation. there's the investigative part which clearly the fbi has taken the lead on but there is also a logistical and presence component of this. so i'm speaking to the public. you are going to see an enhanced presence from the boston police, from the state police, from the national guard and from our law enforcement partners through the metropolitan boston area over the next days and probably longer. that is not for any particular reason other than to provide some comfort and, to the public. who are using transportation centers or going about their business. so we are engaged with the
mbta police in the t. you will see more troopers. you will see national guardsmen there. you will see mbta police like you do every day but that presence will be significantly enhanced. we're doing that for the comfort of the public. we're looking for cooperation from the public. it is not to inconvenience anyone. we don't think it will be. you might also see an enhanced presence at logan airport as well. that is not for any particular reason again, other than to solicit cooperation from the public and seek out tips or information. the last thing i want to say, there has to be hundreds if not thousands of photographs or videos or observations that were made down at that finish line yesterday and they're sitting out there amongst everyone that's watching this event this morning. i would encourage you to bring forward anything. you might not think it's significant but it might have some value to this investigation. the mayor's given you tip lines. there are plenty of those. the fbi has them as well.
if you call in i assure you someone will follow up on your photographs or videos you want to submit for consideration. thank you very much. >> good morning. my name is daniel conley. i'm the district attorney here in boston. what occurred yesterday in boston was an act of cowardice. while there will be an opportunity in the future at the conclusion of this investigation to officially define this act, make no mistake, an act of cowardice and of this severity can not be justified for explained. it can only be answered. to that end some of the finest investigators at the local, state and federal levels have been working through the night to not only conduct interviews and process the anticipate but to ensure that those interviews are legally sound and that the evidence is recovered with the greatest care. at the same time, police and
other law enforcement agencies have been actively working to ensure the safety of our city. at this point the loss that we have suffered is enormous but thanks to the efforts of emts, police officers, firefighters, volunteers, ordinary citizens and of course doctors, nurses and the medical staff at boston's world class hospitals we can say with absolute certainty that more lives were saved. for this we can all give thanks. in the days and weeks to come we will do our very best to keep the public and the media apprised and advised of the progress of this investigation and our work. it is important however for the sake of the victims and of this city that our investigators be given the room to do their jobs so that the truth can be found and so that justice can be served. moments like this and our response to them define who we are. in the past 24 hours this
city of boston has shown its strength, its compassion, and its determination to see justice done. >> thank you, dan. we're happy to take questions. we will, we're going to try to take as many questions as you have. so maybe we'll just go from side to side if that's -- yeah. >> what reassures you that there will not be anymore -- [inaudible] >> well, more than the evidence is the extraordinary cooperation among these law enforcement agencies as the mayor and others have said, at the federal, state and local level and indeed from the region. we have an unprecedented level of law enforcement support and engagement here and they're working very, very well and very seamlessly with each other under the leadership of the fbi and that gives me a lot of comfort, it should give the public come trt as well. -- comfort as well. over here.
>> -- that helps understand from maybe the materials level of complexity for the device, level of sew figures case of origin of materials from domestic source or international source? >> i think i know what you're getting at. let me turn it over to rick who i think is not going to comment. >> thank you, governor. i can't comment on that aspect of that. what i think is important to say, what i would like to say on behalf of the boston jttf here today, there is no known physical threat at any location where we are, might be conducting investigative activity right now. i want to put that out to the american public, to the citizens of the city of boston and the commonwealth of massachusetts. >> first of all can you tell us anything about the nature of the device? secondly, tell me about the fact there had been sweep of area and how is it two devices this powerful eluded that? >> i will not be able to comment on the nature of the device right now.
>> -- are they in custody right now under guard at a local hospital. >> i'm not going to say who might or might not be in custody right now. >> can you confirm i.c.e. from ocean avenue will be, is looking for a bomb, is second person who is roommate from that unit? >> what i can say, david, i.c.e. is a key component of our boston joint terrorist task force. they are interviewing witnesses with us and assisting us integrally with this investigation. >> there has been a lot of talk about photos. there was one photo went viral, with a man on the roof in the background -- [inaudible] >> well, we're processing a lot of photographic, digital photographic evidence right now as we, several speakers have said today, including the governor. we encourage the continued submission of any photographic evidence that could lead to lead value but i can't comment on specific tips or leads right now. >> will you tell us about --, can you till us about the
surveillance cameras in the area? are you able to use those and how they are helpful and anything about what you're seeing on them? >> karen, i think commissioner davis can probably speak best about surveillance cameras in the area. again we're processing all the digital photographic evidence we possibly can right now as quickly as possible with resources from fbi headquarters in quantico and that is priority of the investigation right now but i would like commissioner davis to speak about the video cameras. >> thank you, rick. it's a basic investigative protocol at this point in time for practices has characterized many of the techniques used against detainees in u.s. custody in a post-9/11 environment, the state department has characterized the same treatment as torture, abuse or cruel treatment when those techniques were applied by foreign governments. the cia recognized this in an internal review and acknowledged that many of the interrogation techniques it employed were inconsistent with the public policy positions the united states has taken regarding human
rights. the united states is understandably subject to criticism when it criticizes another nation for engaging in torture and then justifies the same conduct under national security arguments. there are those that defend the techniques like waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation because there was the office of legal counsel which issued a decision approving of their use because they defined them as not being torture. those opinions have since been repudiated by legal experts and the olc itself. and even in its opinion it relied not only on a very narrow legal definition of torture, but also on factual representations about how the techniques would be implemented that later proved inaccurate. this is an important context as to how the opinion came about
but also as to how policymakers relied upon it. based upon a thorough review of the available public record, we determined that in application torture was used against detainees in many instances and across a wide range of theaters. on the question of responsibility or how did this happen, any effort to understand how the government decided to approve the torture of detainees must begin with a recognition of the fear and anxiety that enveloped our country after 9/11. we have a small taste of this today even after the events yesterday in boston and the desire of first responders and law enforcement and the public to know the perpetrators of this incredible act of violence. the intensity was even much greater post-9/11 because of the incredible loss of life. and the greatest concerns of
americans and our leaders in that period were simply preventing further attacks. task force members understand clearly that those officials whose decisions may have contributed to the use of torture undertook those measures as their best efforts to protect their fellow citizens. and while our report is critical of the approval of interrogation techniques that ultimately led to u.s. personnel engaging in torture of detainees, the investigation was not an undertaking of partisan fault finding. our conclusions about responsibility should be taken very simply as an effort to understand what happened at many levels of the u.s. policy making. there's no way of knowing how the government would have responded if a democrat administration were in power at the time of the attacks. indeed, our report is equally critical of the rendition to torture program which began under president clinton, and we
question several actions of the current administration as well. it should be noted that many of the corrective actions that were first undertaken during the bush administration as well. but the task force did conclude that the nation's highest officials after the 9/11 attack approved actions for cia and defense personnel based upon legal guidance that has since been repudiated. the most important decision may have been to declare the geneva convention did not apply to al-qaeda and taliban captives in afghanistan or guantanamo. the administration never specified what rules would apply instead. the task force believes that u.s. defense intelligence professionals and service members in harm's way need absolutely clear orders on the
treatment of detainees, requiring at a minimum compliance with common article iii of the geneva convention. this was not done. civilian leaders and military commanders have an affirmative responsibility to insure that their subordinates comply with the laws of war. president obama has committed to observe the geneva conventions through an executive order, but a future president could change it by the stroke of a pen. congress, one of our recommendations, needs to work with the administration to strengthen the torture statute, the war crimes exact the uniform code of military justice to remove loopholes that allow torture to occur. in terms of cia, we did not have access to classified information. this is the reason we're asking the administration to review much of the classified information to see what can be released without compromising national security and to provide more transparency and light on how the policy decisions were made.
dr. david gushy would be happy to answer questions when we conclude about the responsibility and how the absence of clear standards left troops on the front line in an untenable position. on the question of effectiveness of torture, there is no persuasive evidence in the public record that the widespread use of torture against suspected terrorists was necessary; that is, that it produced significant information of value that could not have been otherwise obtained. i'll just simply make two points and observations in this regard. the task force believes it is important to recognize that to say torture is ineffective does not require a demonstration that it never works. a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information. nor does the fact that it may sometimes yield legitimate information justify its use.
what values do america stand for? that's the ultimate question. but in addition to the very real legal and moral objections to its use, torture often produces false information, and it is difficult and time consuming for interrogators and analysts to distinguish what may be true and usable from that which is false and misleading. also conventional, lawful interrogation methods have proven to be successful whenever the united states uses them throughout history, and i have seen this in law enforcement as well. we've seen no evidence in the public record that the traditional means of interrogation would not have yielded the necessary intelligence following the attacks of 9/11. general david irvine who with taught prisoner of war interrogation for 18 years at the sixth army intelligence school was on the task force and will be happy to answer questions about the
effectiveness of torture. those are a couple of the key findings, but there are many more findings in the task force report that i hope that you will review. this has been a important task that we have engaged in, but we understand how difficult it is for a nation to come to terms with what these findings are and these recommendations. we hope that we will learn from these and improve policy making decisions in the future. and with that i'll turn it back to my co-chair for questions and answers. >> thank you very much, asa. just, they've asked me to highlight just a few other things in the report and to identify some of our task force members to whom you might want to ask questions. the effects and the consequences, the report lookings at the impact of our --
looks at the impact of our actions on our relationship with other governments in the world. a special interest is the extraordinary rendition program. after september 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the bush administration resolved to use every available means to protect the united states from further attack. this extraordinary rendition program used previously by president clinton quickly became an important tool in that effort. and in the years since, numerous investigations and inquiries have found evidence of illegal acts in the form of arbitrary detention and torture resulting from the program. these need to be reviewed. we've found an investigation of extraordinary renditioning by the task force. they uncovered many new details regarding the black sites in poland and lithuania. in poland an official investigation has been hampered by the u.s. government's refusal
to provide any and share any information even as the polish prosecutors have issued indictments against polish officials. for their role in facilitating the black sites. in lithuania prosecutors face many of the same problems of not being able to get information shared with them from the united states government. and be -- and in that particular case they closed the investigation in 2011. and while they admit that there were black sites there, they have no evidence of what prisoners were detained there. there have been a number of inquiries into the rendition program in the united kingdom including one by the house of commons and one by the all-party parliamentary group headed by conservative mp andrew tyree. we will present our findings to
them in june. due to the growing legal and political consequences of the cia's rendition program and network of secret prisons and the fact that officials credibly assert that both programs have been discontinued, the task force recommends that the united states fully comply with its legal obligations under the convention against torture. and in cooperating with the pending investigations around the world and these lawsuits. president obama's early executive order also closed the cia's black sites. but their effect on the cia's rendition of detainees to foreign custody is less clear. so, therefore, the task force makes specific recommendations of ways to strengthen the process of rules on those renditions and the process of
diplomatic assurances from those countries to which they are rendered. ambassador tom pickering can answer the questions that you have in this particular area of the international and the diplomatic issues that we discuss. we also looked at the effect of our actions on former detainees. detainees are not traditionally an object of sympathy, and yet many of these detainees who were found not to be fundamental -- guilty of anything that we, even though they did not have a trial, were released and released virtually with no assistance, no help, no way to get back into the world. the, this is an issue that i think is of importance, and dr. alibri can answer questions with regard to those. a few words on the medical and the legal profession in this, in
this effort. medical professionals including physicians and psychologists participated vigorously in interrogations. rules and regulations and operating procedures were altered to guide physicians in their involvement in detention and interrogation procedures that put many of them in direct conflict with their professional ethics. we offer several recommendations to preclude this in the future. we have, as i think asa mentioned, the force feeding part, and that is where the military acknowledges that there were 28 -- i think it's a little higher as of today -- detainees at guantanamo that are conducting a hunger strike, ten of whom are being force fed. the press reports that some lawyers of other detainees report that the hunger strike is much more widespread involving a
majority of the 166 men still held there. and that some have lost significant weight in recent week. again, this is a medical issue that i would suggest you direct your questions to dr. jerry thompson. on the legal front, one of the things we found was that this was a war conducted less by the generals and more by the lawyers. the lawyers also played a very key role in the aftermath of the attacks. lawyers in the justice department's office of legal counsel provided legal advice that seemed to go to great lengths to allow treatment that amounted to torture. the report offers a systematic examination of the ways of legal interpretations involved in response to the court decisions and public pressure. the role of the olc in the federal government is unique.
it is the president's law firm, and they have a responsibility to push back against unreasonable institutional pressures from the white house or anywhere in government. the task force recommends that the olc should periodically review confidential opinions to determine if they may be declassified and released. if opinions from the olc might someday be disclosed, the olc attorneys would be more mindful of their responsibility to act in an impartial manner and less likely to engage in advocacy. and professor richard epstein is available to answer those questions. on the issue of the obama administration, during the 2008 campaign president obama criticized the bush administration's treatment of detainees.
candidate obama promised to close guantanamo and to reject torture without exception or equivocation. he also criticized the previous administration for executive secrecy including repeated invocations of the state secrets privilege to get civil lawsuits thrown out of court, and he promised to lead a new era of openness. the administration has fulfilled some of those promises and conspicuously failed to fulfill others. in some cases because congress has blocked them, but in other cases for reasons of their own. as asa mentioned earlier, the high level of secrecy surrounding the rendition and torture of detainees since september 11 cannot continue to be justified on the basis of national security. the authorized enhappensed techniques -- enhanced techniques have been publicly disclosed, and the cia has approved its former employees'
publication of detailed accounts of individual interrogation. ongoing classification of material documenting these practices serves only to conceal evidence of wrongdoing and to make its repetition more likely. apart from redactions needed to protect specific individuals ind to honor specific diplomatic agreements, the task force urges the president to direct executive branch agencies to promptly and fully declassify as much material about the treatment of suspected terrorists as possible. the convention against torture to which the united states is a signatory in addition is prohibiting all acts of torture, in addition to prohibiting all acts of torture requires that states insure in their legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair
and adequate compensation. the united states has not complied with this requirement. the task force recommends that the state secrets privilege should be subjected to independent judicial review and restrict the use of the privilege to cases where it is truly necessary to guard against nonspeculative hims to national security -- harms to national security. as asa mentioned, we have 24 findings and specific recommendations both for the legislative and the executive to act on. we urge you to read the report. we think it's readable as opposed to just a dry set of words. and now let's close and open it up for questions. first of all, let me say that because we're trying to get the web site and others to be able to understand the question, after you raise your hand, identify yourself and then wait
for a microphone to come to you. we have two microphones on both sides of the room. so thank you for listening to our summation of the report. who has a question? yes, ma'am. >> thank you for doing this. camille -- [inaudible] from al-jazeera english television. i have two questions. um, one, and you mentioned it a little bit about the force feeding of some hunger striking detainees at guantanamo. i wondered if you could talk, if the doctor could talk a little bit more about what the long-term impact of that is, and, you know, what kind -- what can we see -- i mean, how can this situation be resolved? and then that leads to my second question for the both of you about political will to do what the administration has said is its intended goal of closing the facility and, you know, and due process for as many of the detainees as they can put on
trial. you know, it seems there's no will on either side, and they're just blaming, congress is blaming the white house, and the white house is blaming congress. what can be done the move both of these issues forward? >> doctor? >> the long-term impact can be seen, i think, in two ways. one, the potential impact on the detainees in terms of success, in terms of personal risk and injury. and second, what would be, what's going to be the impact politically on the situation at guantanamo. you know that the task force came out very strongly condemning force feeding, and this is in keeping and in line with international ethical standards both of professional treatment of hunger strikers and the ethics of treating hunger strikers. we do not believe that force feeding should be an approach to the hunger strike. if you can imagine being a
detainee and using refusal to eat as a form of protest, and then you are forced to eat, forced physically to eat by being strapped into a specially-made chair and restrained, having restrainted put on your limbs; your arms, your legs, your body, your head so you cannot move. having a tube inserted into your throat that extends into your stomach, and you're trying to resist that with the only muscles that are free in your throat. pain, discomfort, obviously. but in addition to that, food is then forced in a liquid form into your stomach. you're kept in the chair for at least two hours, usually more than two hours, to prevent you from vomiting and undermining the force feeding. you can't go to the bathroom during that time.
your dignity is taken away. the world medical association and international officials have clearly identified that process as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. and whatever the, given the level of brutality, it could extend to torture. now, since you're refusing food, that's going to happen to you twice a day. day after day. month and week after week. and for some detainees it has gone on for years. as much as four years and longer. now, no question that that has great risk to the detainee. and if the detainee is not treated properly, some damage can occur. and, obviously, there's always the risk of death. we worry about this hunger strike. it's not the first, as you all know, at guantanamo bay. perhaps the most dramatic, the most focused and extensive were
in 2005, and there were two dealing with conditions at the detention camp and beginning to come to grips on the part of the detainees with extended detention, the hope of getting out of guantanamo bay. the first part of 2005 ended because the detainees thought there was going to be application of geneva conventions, and they were in discussions. when that didn't happen, they had the second hunger strike, and it was during that hunger strike that the restraint chairs and the force feeding in restraint chairs was introduced. this, now, is a hunger strike occurring with very different circumstances. the last hung orer strike seem -- hunger seemed to have been broken by the use of the force feeding partly, because the numbers dropped off dramatically during the force feeding. in addition, you have to believe that there was some hope in
association with that, that the detainees saw in addition to the force feeding. in this time we're dealing with force feeding in the hunger strikers who may have much, much less hope. in fact, the reason for the hunger strike is an absence of hope. so we're concerned. first of all, that force feeding is being used, second, we don't have a lot of transparency about how that's being done. and, third, it's very hard to see how we're going to have a reasonable outcome here without some sort of intervention. >> when you asked the second part of the question, when will the political will come about with congress blaming the administration, the administration blaming congress, before you got to guantanamo bay i thought of budge, gun control -- budget, gun control, immigration. that seems to be prevalent in washington these days. i point out that we had a unanimous agreement on all parts of our report with one
exception, and it's part of our report, and that was on what to do with the guantanamo prisoners which are the minority of those who are there now. who have not been tried and who for various reasons of evidence being tainted or whatever probably will not be tried. and that's where we had some disagreement and had the minority opinion. i mighting ask ambassador tom pickering, however, who was very outspoken on this particular issue to comment on this and on her question of the political will. >> thank you very much, jim. if i knew the answer on political will, i suppose there would be more prophetic qualities to my history. one hopes that we will see it, one hopes that we will see immigration and gun control and other efforts. i spent my life as a diplomat
and spent a good part of that life trying to importune other governments to live up to the rule of law. i was cha gripped, embarrassed -- chagrined, embarrassed and, indeed, in many ways felt undermined by the notion that our country which instructed me on numerous occasions to uphold the rule of law particularly indefinite detention without trial was something that we now practice and continue to practice despite all of the questions that people tend to want to raise about a war and prisoners of war and all of the rest. my sense is that we need a specific way forward. the report contains recommendations on a specific way forward; simply trial or military commission with rights and privileges equal to our article iii court or system. if that won't work, then various
ways of deportation. and in the end, if that won't work, at least moving the prisoners to the united states and retaining them in the system which the immigration statute provides for ultimate deportation with regular reviews. this is not a perfect answer, but it does in many ways address the question of the symbolism of guantanamo which i think is now an unfortunate blot on the record of the united states with respect to the use of the rule of law and, indeed, to the question of indefinite detention without trial. we also recommend that in parallel with the position that occurred when our forces left iraq, when the major effort is terminated in 2014, there be, in fact, a public statement,
declaration of the termination of any application of the thought that there is a wartime situation continuing with respect in particular to these detainees. and i think from my earlier remarks you will understand the importance of that. [inaudible conversations] >> yeah. there were two dissenters to this, asa and myself. let me see if i can sort of identify what the sources of the differences are. first of all, none of them relate to the question of what had happened and how it could be avoided. i think all of us believe that one of the most dangerous findings is that people if good faith can do terrible things, because authority tends to erode and to slip. and as you go further and further down the chain, what happens is there's a greater and greater departure from the things that were contemplated above. but as kind of a professional lawyer, remedial side is always extremely difficult to deal with even though there's very strong agreement with respect to what is wrong under these cases.
so on guantanamo, the terrible question is, compared to what? and if the what turns out to be sending to people to bagram air force base, that would, in my mind, be an even worse outcome. the way that the supreme court in the boumediene case interpreted some of our authority, it says that all of us in favor only apply when you're in the territory of the united states, and shipping people to four remote areas may give them fewer rights and also much less assistance than they would otherwise get. on the question of the indefinite detention, i think we all agree that it's a completely nightmarish situation because we do not know when a conflict ends and, therefore, we do not know what to do in the interim. my own view is i would prefer to try some of these people. i would prefer to release some of them. but in many cases it seems that the evidence leaves you in limbo. strong enough to detain but not strong enough to try. and my own view about that is i think what was said earlier
about the need for a constant system of oversight and review is important. one of the things that's wrong with the system of habeas corpus is it's a once and for all determination made at the outset of a hearing, and that's a mistake. you have to constantly upgrade based on new information, you must have constant oversight by other individuals, and the situation's very similar to that. in general, surveillance with a warrant requirement under the fourth amendment doesn't deal with the situation. but the thought that you should allow this stuff to go on indefinitely without periodic review by some independent authority is, in effect, i think, indefensible. so you should understand that the differences that exist on this task force with respect to remedies are a means to a common end. they are not differences that there is something about what's going on here. which is more laudable than the report makes out. i mean, i think this i speak for everybody when i say the that the level of thoroughness that nick lewis and his team brought to this is second to none, and we hope even if there's some
disagreements on the remedial side, we all agree the report will place powerful limits on what counts as a credible response to the difficult positions that we've faced in the past and which we must do everything in the future to avoid. >> let me also just briefly mention on your, the political part of the question. there's a lot like not in my backyard for a project in this regard. there's a strong feeling among many on both sides of the political aisle that these people if they're brought to the united states, put into prison, would be a danger to the united states, a security problem for the united states. that has not proven to be true in other terrorist actions. the civil courts, the federal courts have been able to try these cases, get convictions. and i think there's something like 300 prisoners that fall under that rubric of terrorism that are in federal prisons on united states soil today and
have been no escapes and no dangers to the society. but it's a political feeling that it could, and that's the problem. other question? yes, sir. >> thank you. matt -- small with reuters news service. a couple of questions, one to follow up on the guantanamo issue. again, you gentlemen were not able to reach unanimous recommendation after two years of your own, i'm sure, very reasoned struggle. so what, if any, chances are there that congress and the administration in any reasonable period of time could overcome the political, legal, legislative obstacles that have been set up to closing guantanamo by the end of 2014 as you've suggested? the other question relates, again, to the boston, the boston tragedy. and i think what you have paymented is a picture of overreaction to 9/11 in many
ways and the treatment of detainees in counterterrorism operations and the like. what, if any, danger might you see of an overreaction coming out of what's happened in boston in terms of -- >> we'll leave this discussion to go live to the capitol where senate republican leaders are talking to the media about the senate's agenda. this is just getting started. >> let me just say that given the events of yesterday, the procedure today is going to be a little different. obviously to, our hearts go out to the victims and their families of this outrageous act yesterday. we're all anxious to begin to learn about who may have been the perpetrator, but it does remind us that our country continues to be a target for attacks. ill make just two brief observations about two issues that are coming our way, and i'll just tell you in advance
i'm not going to take any questions today. number one, our conference had an opportunity yesterday afternoon to have a briefing by senator rubio, mccain, flake about the talks that the three of them and senator graham have been involved in with regard to the immigration issue. we expect that bill to be produced here sometime soon, so we'll have an opportunity to take a look at it and, hopefully, it'll provide a bipartisan way forward. on a very important issue to the country. with regard to the matter on the floor of the senate right now, senator reid and i will be talking shortly about the order of dealing with the amendments that have been offered on the underlying bill. as you know, the manchin-toomey proposal is the pending business, and we hope to be able to set up a series of votes on the amendments that we know both
sides would like to at least initially offer. on this legislation. and, ladies and gentlemen, that's all i'm going to have to say today. thank you. >> senate republican leader mitch mcconnell touching on a number of issues; the immigration bill that's set to come before lawmakers and the gun violence prevention legislation that has been debated today. typically we also hear from members of the senate democrat leadership after their party lunches. we have that -- we will have that, too, for you should they arrive before the senate gavels back in at 2:15 eastern. while we wait for senate democrat leaders to return or to come to the microphones here, we'll go back to the program we were just showing you. an independent investigation confirming that the u.s. used torture tactics like
waterboarding on detained suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the september 11th attack. this hosted by the constitution project. >> much too much evidence or willingness to sort of stress the emergency of the moment and not enough to get really clear with respect to the background procedures. so as a general matter, i think one of the things that we've said is you don't use extraordinary procedures when regular procedures are available. you don't spend your time arguing whether or not certain kinds of events are or are not covered by the geneva conventionings. you give everybody the same trial, you get more legitimacy than none out of the situation. and the other point i would stress on all of these cases is that when we had the al-qaeda situation in 2001, we knew it was done institutionally, and we knew that we were fighting some kind of a systemic enemy. in this particular case, the early returns suggest that it's the isolated act of a given individual, and that may well change the way in which one starts to think about how one
treats this thing going forward in terms of national security and similar issues. and a lot will be found out in the next 72 hours or a week as to how this thing did, and if it turns out to be a one-off situation, i think the long-term implications are obviously less than if it's not. >> just -- i concur in terms of boston. we're still learning, obviously, and i think the first responders, the homeland security officials that are looking at this, the fbi will follow protocols. i have no reason to think that there would be any overreaction or breach of normal protocols and policies that have been put into place. >> other questions? i'm going to call on general irvine because we have had questions on the efficacy of
torture as beneficial to the united states in this getting information. would you comment on that? >> well, first of all, as we approach the question of what brutal interrogation can or cannot produce, it became very quickly evident that there have been many claims made that harsh interrogation, torture, whatever you wish to call it, we have run into the euphemism frequently enhanced interrogation techniques, that this somehow works and, therefore, is a justifiable means of obtaining information. in fact, it's curious that today probably more people in the united states believe that harsh interrogation, a, works; and, b, ought to be used at least in some cases where there is a
particular significant threat that's involved. and one of the reasons this probably has evolved as it has is that the claims that it is effective, that it has saved tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives have largely been made in a vacuum. and as has been mentioned previously, we did not have access to classified information, particularly to the classified interrogation logs that were developed by cia interrogators, in some instances military interrogators. those reports are of critical importance in determining whether the claims that have been made for the effectiveness of these means of interrogation have any validity. at this point from what we have been able to determine from the public record, public records strongly suggest that there was no useful information gained
from going to the dark side that saved the hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of lives that have been claimed. there are many instances in that public record to support the notion that we have been badly misled by false confessions that have been derived from brutal interrogations. and, unfortunately, it is a fact that people, people will just say whatever they think needs to be said if the pain becomes more than they can bear. other people are so immune to pain that they will die before they will reveal what an interrogator may wish to know. and ask so the issue of -- and so the issue of whether cruelty, whether torment, whether torture is effective is a question that we can't say in every instance is not effective, nor can we say that it is more effective than
conventional means of interrogation. and this is an issue that will resolve or be resolved, hopefully, when the senate select committee on intelligence can release the details of the report that it has prepared where those senators and staffers have actually gone into the classified record and have made an analysis based on that information. so far the reports are that there is not much there that would suggest that this approach to interrogation has been useful. i'll just say in conclusion that in 2001 the united states had had a great deal of experience with tactical and strategic interrogations. we had been very successful over a long period of time in learning how to do this and do it very, very well. unfortunately, when the policies
were developed that led us to the dark side, many of those who were involved in formulating those policies had no experience with interrogation, had no experience with law enforcement, had no experience with the military and how these matters are approached. one of the most successful fbi interrogators prior to 2001 was a guy named jonah valve row. and joe -- joe navarro. and joe is innovated for having -- is noted for having said, and he was probably one of the handful of stevennic interrogators qualified to debrief a high-value al-qaeda prisoner. but joe said i only need three things. if you'll give me three things, i will get whatever someone has to say, and i will do it without breaking the law. first of all, i need a quiet room. second, i want to know what the rules are, because i don't want to get in trouble.
and, third, i need enough time to become that person's best and only friend. and if you give me those three conditions, i will get whatever that person has to say, and i will get it effectively and quickly and safely and within the terms of the law. so we can do it well when we want to. we need to do more looking at our history to remind us what worked worked and why it worked and not resort to what may seem at the time to be expedient, clever or necessary. >> other questions? did you have a hand up over here? yeah, okay. go ahead. >> um, thank you for the report. i have two questions. number one, are you planning to have a briefing or a hearing on the hill on this issue, to have
members of congress on the republican and democrat to sponsor a hearing? and number two, are you planning to meet with people who are in the administration to speak about this issue to them? and the question for the professor al-hibri, how much of this issue impact the relationship of the united states with the muslim world and arab worlds in terms of the image of the united states? >> before i would just mention we have let it be known that we would be willing to testify and to brief anybody in the administration or congress, but it's up to them to invite us. dr. al-hibri? >> thank you. i'd like to, first, say that i have been very honored to be on this panel, and throughout those two years find out a lot of information that i did not know in such a great detail.
it is important to me, because one reason i'm in this country is because i believe in the ideals of the constitution and be of this country. and of this country. and let's not, let's not mislead ourselves into thinking that everyone who comes here comes for economic reasons. there are a lot of people who come here for our values. and it is our values that we need to keep up. because that's who we are. the problem with these issues is that i am now finding out a lot about them, as you are. but in muslim and arab countries, they've heard about this in some detail for quite a while now, because many of the detain mes -- detainees went back and talked. be of these people -- many of these people, some were children
under 18 and were found not guilty and released. and they went pack -- back and not only did they talk to their families and to their communities, but some of them appeared on television. that is a very uncomfortable position for me, someone who's been working on human rights issues around the world for the last 30 years. to find out that we have a problem with human rights. also i work very closely on issues of religious freedom. there are also some of these issues that appeared in guantanamo and other places, as you might have heard. this bother me a great deal as an american, but you can imagine the situation abroad. and i'm very concerned that al-qaeda has seen an expansion.
it has been able to expand its forces from being initially in afghanistan and now going all the way to syria and parts of egypt and so on. and i think that the more we stand up for who we are, the more we defend our values, the more we are going to gain and give influence and force to the moderate voice in the muslim world that believes in us. >> thank you very much. we have three minutes left before closing. dr. gushy, would you have anything you'd like to say? and i'd like to ask nick lewis if he had anything, because he led a terrific team. and then asa to close it off. >> yes, thank you, jim. the tax force says -- the task force says in our report all societies behave differently under stress. at those times they may even
take actions that conflict with their essential character and values. and that's what we did here. of we were under stress, and we took actions that conflict with who we are. who we are called to be and who we have committed to be. and then we spent about ten years not being willing to face the truth about that. often by covering what happened with euphemisms and an awful lot of state secrets. so i believe that our detainee task force has functioned as a kind of truth commission, revealing where we strayed from our values by shining the light of investigation and analysis onto the problem in the open that the next time we're under that kind of stress we do not go down the same road. and it has been an honor to serve on this panel. >> thank you, dave. nick? >> very little, just in terms of
new things, everyone here has discussed the general contours of the report which is the most important thing. there are some new points raised in the report. there's a discussion of the role of the international community of the red cross and the debate inside that organization. we have an interview with the fellow who was the icrc representative in washington, and we also have an interview with the first commander of the detention hospital at guantanamo who was presented as a support for the humane face of guantanamo in the early years. he's a naval captain, and he now teaches at the u.s. naval war college, albert shimkus, and he relates in our report how he's filled with remorse and regret and feels he was misled and used and is very contrite about what happened and what he did not notice at the time. thank you. >> it's been a great privilege for me to co-chair such a
distinguished panel. i thank them, because they were deeply involved. asa? do you want to close it off? >> likewise, jim. it's been an honor to work with you and all the members of the task force. i would just end by saying i hope this does mark an illustration as to how things can work well in washington and in our nation, that a group of leaders in a bipartisan and left/right if there is such a thing way can work through a very thorny issue for our country, hopefully make a difference, and this will set a good path for the future. thank you. >> thank you very much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate today as lawmakers are returning fromum their weeklyen party lunches. senators continue to debate on the firearms bill focusing on
the manchin-toomey amendment dealing with expanded background checks for those buys guns. debate on the immigration proposal offered by the gang of eight senators expected to come before the senate soon. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2 as they start in a quorum call.
quorum call:
quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. my colleagues, the week is finally here when we come to the floor to have votes on a piece of legislation that we've been
waiting for decades for. this chamber is finally talking about what we can do to stop the plague of gun violence that has rippled through every single corner of this country. as i watch these mass shootings play out over the course of the last ten years whether it be in colorado or arizona or in virginia, you think to yourself this is just something you're watching. this is just something that happens somewhere else to someone else. you just don't think that it ever happens to you. and believe i will never forget that drive that i took, down mr. in bridgeport, connecticut, to bring my two little boys down to new york city along with my wife to look at all the pageantry of that city during the holiday time when i got a phone call there had been a shooting at sandy hook elementary school. sandy hook elementary school.
i thought it must have been a mistake and at first i thought, well, to the extent there is something going on at sandy hook elementary school in this quiet hamlet in western connecticut, well, it must be some disgruntled employee who walked in, had a grudge. i learned more over the minutes, half an hour that i was driving to newtown that just made my blood freeze. as i learned that this was a mass shooting involving dozens of adults and kids and i realized it was now happening in my neighborhood, in my state, in my town. unfortunately, as i stood at that firehouse, the firehouse is where the community gathered that day where all the parents stood waiting for their children to come back or to not come back from that school, i had way too many of my colleagues i could call upon for advice on how as an elected official to deal with a tragedy of this mag tiewtd.
i could call my friends in arizona, or i could call my friends in colorado or call up my new colleague governor kaine from virginia. there were too many places to turn. and it had happened to us in connecticut in the place that we never, ever thought would be subject to gun violence. and so we're finally after this tipping point having a debate about what we can do. and through all of the back-and-forth this week and last about whether we would have a vote on this floor, could brie wee overcome a filibuster, could we come to a ties comiez on background checks, would we add to that high-capacity magazines, underneath it all are these thousands of victims, little girls and boys in newtown but 16 and 17 and 31 and 68-year-olds from across the country who have been gunned down over the course of the last several decades. without this body raising a finger to try to make things
different. well, it time for those victims' stories to be told. and so as i did last week, i'm going to come down to the floor this week and share with you the stories of victims of gun violence, the stories of lives that were cut way too short because of guns and in part because this body has not been serious enough to stand up and do something about it. so i want to start this afternoon's remarks by returning to the place where it all starts for me and that's sandy hook elementary school. there are 26 stories to tell of the people who lost their lives at that school that day and i think i've gotten to about 20 or 21 of them so i'll tell you the last few stories. unbelievable i haven't actually got to tell the story of anne marie murphy even though i've told her story of what she did
that day on this floor at least once, i just shared it with my democratic colleagues. but anne marie murray before that fateful day was a really amazing person. anne marie was a special education teacher and she loved her work. she had sought out working in the area of special education because she knew she had a talent as so many of the students paren who worked with her found talent for reaching out and touching little girls' and little boys' lives. in fact, it's not a coincidence that a number of the kids that were killed in sandy hook that day were kids with autism because sandy hook was known as a school that had a talent for reaching out to kids on the autistic spectrum and anne marie was part of the that story. she was a special education teacher, mother of four wonderful children: kelly coleen
page and thomas. she grew up in catona, new york, she graduated from a high school in summers, new york. she got her degree at southern connecticut state university. she was remembered by her friends and family as sweet, happy and outgoing and caring, and all of those characteristics came into play that day. i shared this story with my colleagues last week and then behind closed doors today, but i'll share it quickly again. that day anne marie murphy had in her charge a little boy named dylan hockley. when the bullets started flying, anne marie took dylan into her arms and did her best to comfort him and perhaps shield him. when the police came in to that
classroom, that's how they found dylan and anne marie, in each other's arms. to the hockleys, the fact that there was some measure of love being expressed to dylan in those last horrible moments gives them some small measure of peace. she died a hero, doing what she did best. anne marie had been doing this for awhile, but she had a lot of years to give. she was only 52 years old. she could have continued to change the lives of children in need, children with autism for another ten-plus years. just think of all of the lives that she could have affected. how many more dylan hockleys could she have found and nurtured and helped to work through their autism. we'll never get to know. she was killed that day. grace mcdonnell's parents are amazing. they have been down here to washington a number of times
already. they have led a lot of our communities' debate in connecticut about what we do to change the euro of guns and -- change the issue of guns and gun violence. they do so because they lost their daughter, grace mcdonnell, that day. grace was seven years old when she died. grace had asked for a purple cake with a turquoise peace sign and poll -- polka dots when she turned. that's what she wanted for her birthday was that purple cake. she loved the color purple and she loved the color pink as so many of these girls did. and her funeral which i had the honor of attending was buried in pink. she loved the beach. you could always find grace mcdonnell on the beach. she loved country music. taylor swift was among her favorites. she participated in gymnastics.
she had a dog, pudding, she absolutely adored. she was a wonderful, kind little girl. her parents have tried to figure out the ways in which big and small they can pass along the kindness their seven-year-old grace showed to the world. they have done that by trying to explain to this country who she is. they have done that by taking all the art she produced. grace was a fantastic artist and many have pieces of original art that grace did hanging on our walls at our office or our home. but the mcdonnells do small things like following her memorial service they stopped at a local restaurant and ordered a cupcake for every patron in that restaurant who came in to the establishment that day. white cake, chocolate frosting, pink and white sprinkles, a small little thing to spread grace's love throughout this community.
coincidentally it was right after grace's funeral that i received word that the n.r.a. was going to oppose virtually everything we did. up until that moment i had hoped the n.r.a. was going to be a partner with us. i remember walking out of grace mcdonnell's funeral amongst the dozens of wakes and funerals i went to those two weeks and getting a copy of the n.r.a. statement handed to me. it was that day i understood we were in for a fight, one a lot of us in the midst of that grief didn't expect we would have. we thought newtown would bring us all together. unfortunately, for some it has not. allison wyatt died that day. allison was six years old. allison was an overwhelmingly kind girl. i mean, all these little boys and girls were kind. frankly, what most little boys and girls are when they're six and seven years old. they are wonderfully kind, and this tragedy just kills us
inside because we know that six and seven year old remind all of us about what we want to be. allison once gave her snack to a stranger on a plane that was hungry. she gave it away as a simple act of kindness. she had a passion for drawing. she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. and she would cover the walls of her house with her drawings, turning every room in the wyatts' house into her own little art stewed kwroefplt in - studio. she had just before her death drawn a picture for her teacher, victoria soto. she had written on that picture, i love you. love ali. both died that day. her day care teacher said of allison that -- quote -- "she would come and put her head on your shoulder if she was upsefplt it -- upset. it would make her feel better. she was a sweet and caring
girl." 26 students and teachers died that day in sandy hook. 28 people died that day, and we've got to remember that. as much anger and often hatred as we have for the shooter and as much confusion as we have about his mother and the questions we ask about why she would give him access to those kind of weapons knowing how troubled he was, 28 people did die that day. 26 in sandy hook elementary school. but here's the thing, mr. president. every day more than that die in this country from gun violence. every day on average 30 people die from gun violence across this country. i've had this chart up for the last week. it's hard to read if you're in the gallery or in this chamber
or watching from somewhere else because each one of these little figures represents someone that has been killed by guns since december 14, 2012. in the now almost four months since that day -- it's over four months now -- over 3,400 people have died from guns all across this country. and we as a legislative body over the past several decades seem to have just become immune to the everyday gun violence that happens. we're sort of used to picking up our local paper and reading about another shooting, reading about another victim. in my state that die in new haven, hartford and bridgeport on a pretty regular basis. this debate has to be not just about what we can do to try to lessen the likelihood that anyone has to call me up and ask for advice on how they handle the latest mass shooting in
their state or their district, but it also has to be an answer to the thousands of people who are losing their lives on the streets of america due to routine, everyday gun violence. that's what the compromise that is on the floor for debate right now will do. since we put into place our background checks law, there have been just hundreds of thousands of people who were legally prohibited from buying guns -- they were felons or they had been convicted of domestic abuse or they were judged so mentally ill that they shouldn't own guns. hundreds of thousands of people have walked into gun stores and been prevented from buying guns because of our background check law. the problem is that only about 60% of gun sales go through those background checks. and 90% of americans agree that we should apply background checks to as many people as we can just to make sure that
criminals don't have guns. if criminals didn't have guns, i can virtually guarantee you that this visual would be a little less stunning than it is today. it wouldn't erase these figurines. background checks, if they were universal wouldn't erase the scourge of violence across this country, but it would certainly lessen the impact of this chart. so let's talk about some of those victims of urban gun violence, of gun violence in our communities that are just a one-day story in the paper, not the multiday episode that a mass shooting may be. talk about somebody like kwantay feliciano. kwantay was killed in heart, -- hartford, connecticut. the shooting was march 26.
a companion was shot in the head. both were pronounced dead in the hospital. kwantay was a product of the public school system traoeupbd and tried to do better for himself. a lot of kids drop out of the public school system, but kwantay figured out a way to graduate and get himself employed. he was studying to be an automotive technician at the time of his death. his obituary said he was loved by everybody that came in contact with him. and that what defined him to most of his friends and his family was just his 100-watt smile. hartford is a tough place to grow up. there are a lot of kids who don't see a way out of their situation. but this young man did. he had gotten his college diploma. he was trying to do something to make himself better by going and becoming an automotive
technician. and he was shot dead in the chest just a few short weeks ago. kelly, by the way, who was shot with him, leaves behind four children. four brothers and one sister. kenasha isaac was 16 years old, and she was described by her friends as a social butterfly. she was full of energy and life. and her family was her center. hur uncle's home was always the place where her friends and family congregated when they were there. kenasha was the center of all of her family's life. after exiting a local restaurant, she and her boyfriend got into their car. i know their car pulled up beside them, blocked them as they were going into a parking space, and a man shot at their car, shot kenasha in the face. she died shortly thereafter at age 16 years old.
this was in florida on february 24 of this year. she was going to the local high school, and she wasn't the first victim of gun violence in recent months. in december two high school classmates of hers kobe delson and vidalia were killed in a murder-suicide, killed in a two-month, three-month period of time. christopher walker was 19 years old. he was shot on march 12 of this year in milton, georgia. it was an attempted robbery. he was a marketing student at georgia perimeter college. he had just been accepted into kennesaw state university for the upcoming semester. it's a big deal. he had been trying to do right for him and his family. he had been studying marketing and he had just gotten accepted into kennesaw state university.
he was excited about getting into that school. he was already working to pay for his degree. he was a successful salesman at a local sears, and he was doing all of this with a goal towards the long term. he was a great salesman. he was studying marketing. he was going to get his degree, but he really loved music. chris' dream was to become a musician. even as this 19-year-old college student was looking for a job, he was recording as much music as he could. and his goal was to take his music and not keep the money that he collected from it for himself, but he was going to donate it to charity. so he was going to pursue his college degree, go out and continue to be a salesman, do music on the side simply to make enough money to give to charity. what an amazing kid. 19 years old. and an attempted robbery on march 12 of this year, christopher walker was shot dead in milton, georgia. dominique boyer was 18 when she was shot in atlanta, georgia, on
march 28. all of these victims, by the way, are part of this chart. unfortunately, i don't have to go back six months or a year or a year and a half to find an endless list of victims. we're just talking about march of this year. dominique was 18 years old and just months away from her high school graduation when he became an unintentional, innocent victim of a shooting in dekalb county, georgia. dominique was a senior in high school and had been planning to go to college to become an accountant. his classmates remember him as a happy, outgoing, respectful friend with lot of friends. he was the oaflt the oldest of r siblings. he was going to go to college this year and he was an unintentional, innocent victim of a shooting.
and you hear this over and over and over again. i mean, i've read now probably 50 or 60-plus stories of kids, 18, 19 years old, who have been killed. the highest incidence of gun violence occurs to 19-year-olds -- i think followed by 18-year-olds, followed by 17-year-olds. it is really teenagers that are getting killed out there. unfortunately, in connecticut, it was six and seven-year-olds. kids like those in sandy hook are dying every day in this country. most of them are unintentional, innocent victims. at some level a the although of people want to believe that the people that are killed in urban gun violence were killed in connection with a crime or were wrapped up in gangs, and some of are that is true, but the stories that you're hearing are good kids who were doing the
right thing, who, as the president has said, were not in the wrong place at the wrong time but were in the right place at the right time. dominique was a respectful kid who treated everybody well, who just happened to be in the way of a bullet, that maybe wasn't designated for him but shouldn't have been flying through the air in the first place. hakim jackson was 17 years old when he was killed a couple weeks before com dominique on mh 11, 2013, in knoxville, tennessee much he was just on a weekend visit to knoxville, visiting his family and grandmother much hakim's mom described him as a quiet and bashful boy but sometimes a little bit of a prankster. and on friday night he asked his grandmother for some money. he was 17 years old. he just wanted to go down to the store. while he was walking down the street in a city that wasn't
even his own, a gray sedan pulled up and sot hakim several times -- and shot hakim several times. he was 17 year years old just visiting his grandmother in kn knoxville, tennessee. kay correspondent necessarily, she was 72 when she was shot just one day before hakim in marietta, georgia. she was known for her grace and her poise and again, as you've heard through number of these victims, her radiant smile, something that her friends and family remembered about her. she was full of class. she loved fine food and wine and traveling and entertaining, and many of these hobbies became over the course of her life her passion. she was the mother of four and she was the grandmother of two.
and she was shot in her garage by her longtime boyfriend. neighborneighbors suspect that e murder may have been the result of a dispute they were having over finances. the and kay, 72 years old, being gunned down. zachary rose was killed in january of this year. he was celebrating his 22nd birthday. two days later after his 22nd birthday, he was killed. his loves were skateboarding and cars and dogs -- dogs at the top of his list; he absolutely loved dogs, and he had a great deign, mathias, that all of his friends said after he was killed was really his baby. he actually loved dogs so much that he ran his own dog training company. zachary's friend dedicated a page of their company's web site to helping raise money for zachary's funeral because his
family was going through tough times, and when he was killed leaving behind tw three sibling, they didn't have enough money to pay for his funeral. zachary was the kind of guy that had literally no enemies, killed by guns january 28, 2013. his family didn't have the known pay for his funeral -- have the money to pay for his funeral ... the story of a lot of these families. families are already going through a lot of tough times. a the although of these communities rallied to the victims' defense to help pay for these funerals. think about going through the pain and the grief of losing your child and then not even having enough money to bury them. that's the rela reality of whats
happening across this country today because it happens too often. mr. president, there's been another trend in the last several months that has in some ways been even more disturbing than the overall incidence of 3,000-plus people having died across our country. we have seen a very disturbing trend in the last several months even of accidental deaths from guns, and as we've said, there's no one solution to this plague of gun violence. it's getting tougher on our good laws, making sure that criminals don't have them who shouldn't, trying to take some of these dangerous weapons -- the assault weapons and the dangerous high-capacity ammunition off the streets, having a better mental health system. but it is also about gun safety. it is also about if you're going
to be a gun owner, you be a responsible gun orientation that you put a look -- a responsible gun owner, that you put a lock on it, keep it away from children. in the last four months there have been several shootings involving toddlers. a tennessee woman shot in her stomach by her 2-year-old child who discovered a glock-9 underneath the pillow, discharged the weapon and shot ra civment a kidd while she was sleeping. josephine was shot and killed in tennessee when a 4-year-old boy discharged a handgun owned by fanning's husband who had just kept the gun loaded, in his words, "for a moment." a 4-year-old boy. a 6-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed by his 4-year-old playmate at in a
quiet residential new jersey neighborhood. this never should have happened, the victim's uncle said. it is horrible. and a 3-year-old died recently of an accidental self-inflicted gun wound in south carolina after finding a gunning in an apartment and discharging the weapon. a 2-year-old shooting his mother, a 4-year-old shooting an adult, a 6-year-old getting shot by a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old shooting itself. now, these accidental shootings are likely not going to be solved by a background check law or a ban on high-capacity ammunition. but it just speaks to how big this problem is. it speaks to how many guns are out there. and it speaks to the fact that as part of our debate often
background checks and on specific weaponry that should be kept in the hands of the military, that we should also be having a conversation about gun safety as well. lastly, i want to talk about the importance of today. senator kaine, i believe, was dune here earlier today talking about the six-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting in this country's history at virginia tech. i want to close by just telling a few final stories about those victims. i've told some of them when i've been down here before, but that shooting was in some ways just as tragic. in sandy hook, we had a little glimpse into who these little boys and girls would be. when you heard these stories about their intellectual curiosity and their kindness and their grace, you had a window
into what amazing people folks like dylan hockley and grace mcdonnell and madeleine hsu would eventually grow up to be. in virginia tech, though, we had a much better window into these kids because, though they hadn't reached maturity, they had already succeeded by getting to virginia tech. and you could really see the kind of contributions that they were going to leave. austin michelle cloy lived life boldly. she had traveled the world with her family. she was interested in everything from politics to environmental issues to international relations. she was a really tall girl and everybody remembered what austin looked like because she had flaming red hair and a big, bright smile. she played basketball throughout her middle and high school years and she worked for summers with the appalachia service project
to help make homes better for people, to make them better and safer and drier. she loved reading and scuba diving and concerts. she was just a girl that was just absolutely full of life and she lived for a purpose. she knew she wanted to help people. she had a brilliant mind and compassionate heart and she had an iron will. we'll never know what austin was going to truly grow up to be. she was killed that day at virginia tech. joycelyn couture nowak had a passion for teaching french. she was a faculty member killed that day. and before she moved to virginia, she was very well-known for being instrumental in helping develop a school to ensure access for franfrancophone families. she went between nova scotia and
southwest virginia. she loved the bea bucolic countryside and she loved to go on hikes, whether it was in virginia or back in nova scotia. she was passionate for french education. she was passionate that other people would learn the language and she still had a lot of passion to give, but she was killed that day sexual. -- that day as well. and matthew, his professor goal was to go out and increase awareness about environmental issues. he wanted to encourage people to be proactive in their individual lives to try to better our environment, whether it was just leading smaller and more confined footprint on this world or going out and creating systems in their community to lower the impact of pollution. his passion was environmental awareness, but he was also a big fan of sports.
he was a detailed expert in sports statistics, and you could not beat matthew in a game of trivia. he loved his devoted hokies and he went to every a.c.c. sporting event that he could. professionally, he loved the atlanta braves and chicago white sox and chicago bulls. age shomatthew was going to liva great lifetime we never got to see his passion for environmental awareness, nor his passion for the hobbies that he loved because matthew was killed that day at virginia tech. mr. president, the list goes on and on and on. 3,400 people killed since december 14. just a few of the pictures of the young men and women who have been killed in hartford and bridgeport, and new york and
washington and newtown, connecticut. it is their memories that we will honor this week as we go forward on one of the most important public safety debates that this chamber and this city has ever had. mr. president, i'll be back down to the floor later this week to continue to engage my colleagues in talking about the real reason that we're here. that's the victims of gun violence all across this country. mr. president, at this time, i would ask unanimous consent that the period for debate only on s. 649 be extended until 5:30 p.m. and that the majority leader be recognized at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
quorum call:
quorum call:
quorum call:
quorum call:
mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to begin by -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. blumenthal: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: mr. president, thank you. i want to begin by saying that my thoughts and prayers, like so many americans, are with boston today, with the families and loved ones who have lost lives or have been injured. and i offer my deepest condolences to the families of those victims, and my sincere gratitude to the courageous first responders, including many of the runners who courageously went to the aid of people who were grievously injured and some maimed by this horrific act of terror. whether we call it a terrorist act or an act of terror or simply a criminal murder, it is certainly to be condemned.
and to be investigated as thoroughly and promptly as possible. and i know that the full resources of the federal government have been devoted to this purpose. we're an open society. we are a soft target for people who want to do harm to a democracy. we are vulnerable because we are a democracy and we are open. and we have resolved that we will not become totalitarian or anti-democratic. that we will remain a free and open society. and that is the wonder and strength and uniqueness of america, the greatest nation in the history of the world. horror has brought us to this debate, the horror of gun violence, the horror of what has happened in our schools, our streets, in our neighborhoods, in places where the public is
admitted, indeed welcome, whether it's movie theaters or places of worship or schools; where the public has access and where, therefore, all of our citizens, most especially our children, are vulnerable. last week when we opened this debate, we spent a lot of time talking about victims. senator murphy and i spent a lot of time on the senate floor discussing newtown and the victims of that unspeakable and unimaginable tragedy. today we remember another similar tragedy facilitated by the same extraordinarily dangerous weapons in the hands of people who should not be permitted to have firearms or gun. six years ago today cho seung-hui used two semiautomatic
handguns and 9- and 10 15-round magazines to kill and injury at virginia tech university. many of those he used were purchased online. others were purchased at local stores, without a background check. as somebody who has seen my own state grapple with this tragedy, i want to extend my condolences to the families of virginia tech victims. some were here earlier today, and all who have felt the impact of this absolutely senseless slaughter, a senseless and unspeakable as what happened in newtown just four months ago. i want to recognize particularly the leadership of our two senators from virginia and their effort to protect another
virginia tech. as he discussed earlier, senator warner has been actively engaged in efforts to bring research and resources together to make our schools and campuses safer. his leadership has been extremely important. colleges and universities play an extraordinarily important role in my own state of connecticut, and i know they are constantly working to keep their campuses safe. the school and campus safety enhancement act included in the gun violence legislation currently before this body would be an important step toward giving these very institutions of higher learning what they need to protect our students and support the kind of research that is necessary to develop new means and possibly new technology, new tools that are institutions of higher learning but institutions of learning
across the board, beginning with our elementary schools need to do better. and i am proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation. i look forward to working with my colleagues to assuring that it will be passed. and senator kaine, who spoke so evocatively and eloquently on this floor today and who showed such grace under pressure, which is one of the definitions of courage, in responding to the virginia tech tragedy, he has worked to deal with the wounds, and he has resolved to learn from virginia tech. and indeed he worked as a governor to seek safer campuses across virginia and across the country. he fought to put in place commonsense laws that were -- would prevent shooters like cho seung-hui from having access to the arsenal that he used six years ago.
and i want to thank senator kaine for helping to lead the effort for a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used at virginia tech and used at newtown and in so many other shootings across the country over the years. with his support, i plan to offer a high-capacity magazine ban on behalf of senator lautenberg in an amendment to the gun violence legislation currently before the senate. and i am proud to be working with others like senator feinstein, senator schumer and my colleague senator murphy in that effort. i encourage my colleagues to work with me and senator kaine and warner to pass commonsense legislation as we mark the tragedy of virginia tech and we remember the victims of newtown, i want to thank again the victims of these shootings from all across the country who have
come to washington over these past days and indeed weeks, working so hard and so diligently, working through their grief and pain, doing something that is so difficult for them so that others can be spared this pain and grief. many will face difficult votes perhaps as early as tomorrow. we have approached the cusp of these vital and historic votes. many of these votes will be difficult for my colleagues. but as difficult as they are for them and for many whose difficulty i respect, let us remember how difficult it has been for those victims to come here to look you in the eye as they have done and say let us
now do something about gun violence. that is what i heard in the wake of newtown as early as the evening that that horrific tragedy occurred. let's do something about the guns. we have the opportunity to do something about the guns. and as gabby gifford said to the judiciary committee just weeks ago, be bold, be courageous. america is counting on you. that is her urging to us. that is our obligation and our historic opportunity. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. the republican leader. i'm sorry. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the resolution at the desk honoring the life, legacy and example of british prime minister baroness margaret that every. i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, we have just passed a resolution
honoring the late-margaret thatcher before her funeral tomorrow. it is our intention for that resolution to be a statement equal to her legacy. her work with ronald reagan reinvigorated the north atlantic treaty organization. let me just say that margaret that every was one of the most influential and revolutionary figures of the 20th century, and failing to name her achievements would do her memory and her legacy a great disservice. it would be unheard of to commemorate churchill and ignore his heroic role in steering his countrymen through the battle of britain, nor would we think of honoring lincoln without mentioning the civil war. because doing the right thing when it is not easy or popular, that's what defines leadership and it defined margaret that every. so it is fitting that the senate honored her legacy just a few moments ago. margaret thatcher didn't just
change a country or give a people hope; she helped alter the course of history. it's true she did not just a long to get along, but she -- had she done so, i'm sure she would have long since for forgon them. so let's acknowledge her toker what she d let's acknowledge what she accomplished. let's name her achievements by name and the resolution does that because we owe her a tribute equal to her legacy. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call:
mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, i rise today as a mother, as a grandmother and a senator, a senator whose state has been touched far too many times by gun violence, including mass shootings. and i also want to reiterate my support for the people of boston who are dealing with the aftermath of senseless, tragic and cowardly violence. i think i need to put into context why i have for so long been an advocate of gun safety measures.